Customer Reviews: The Great Mouse Detective
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on February 15, 2003
The year is 1897 in London. Young mouse Olivia Flaversham (Susanne Pollatschek) lives happily with her father Hiram Flaversham (Alan Young) who is a toymaker. But when her father is kidnapped, Olivia intends to get him back. Aided by Doctor David Q. Dawson (Van Bettin), they go to find the renowned, legendary detective, Basil of Baker Street (Barrie Ingham). At first Basil is reluctant to help her but when he discovers that his evil arch-nemesis, Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price) is behind Flaversham's kidnapping, Basil decides to investigate. As they follow clues and use 'elementary thinking', the mice try to outwit the evil Ratigan if they are to save all of mousedom!
An incredibly charming movie, Disney gives us a fun and entertaining film for all ages. When I was very young, I was an avid watcher of ALL Disney animation films. But I remember that besides "Robin Hood", "Lion King", and "Aladdin", "The Great Mouse Detective" was my most favorite! I used to watch over and over. Unfortunately, over the years I strayed away from watching the old Disney classics until just the other day when I was rearranging my videos. I came across "The Great Mouse Detective" and I remembering how much I loved it, decided to watch it. And my, it's amazing how well I remembered it! I was able to say all the lines and sing all the songs while still totally enjoying myself!
My point in saying all of this is that the old Disney classics are... well... classics gems! Nothing objectionable for parents to be aware of for their kids, just some romping good fun. "The Great Mouse Detective" has it all; mystery, humor, a great setting (London), action, and suspense. And I can't forget to mention about the colorful characters, each and everyone incredibly likable. My favorite characters are Basil (of course, he's the hero!) and Fidget (Candy Candido, who has done the voices of characters in Disney movies "Sleeping Beauty", "Peter Pan", and "Robin Hood"). And I must mention that Vincent Price doing the voice of Professor Ratigan is a must see. I have always been a fan of his, listening to some of the old radio shows (example, "The Saint"), seeing some of movies, even watching him guest star on the old tv show "The Man from UNCLE". Just watching this movie for the chance to hear Vincent Price is worth it all.
And the music is also well-done by Henry Mancini and there are some fun songs:
"The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" (Vincent Price) - A rousingly funny song, I love the part where Ratigan begins strumming his harp!
"Let Me Be Good To You" (Melissa Manchester) - When this chorus mouse starts off this song, you're at first not sure what's going on. But after a while, I'm sure you too will begin kicking your feet up to the beat!
"Goodbye So Soon" (Vincent Price) - Great song, can't help but sing along each time though at this point in the movie, things are looking dire for Basil and his friends.
I can certainly recommend this movie for both kids and adults. Enjoy! Here are a few interesting trivia I found:
*~*Shortly before his death, he said that one of his most favorite roles was the voice of Professor Ratigan in the Disney feature "The Great Mouse Detective", especially since two original songs had been written for him.
*~*Basil of Baker Street and Dr. David Q. Dawson are named after Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, who played Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson together in several films. Also, in the film, we actually see the shadow of the 'real' Sherlock Holmes, and the voice is actually done by Basil Rathbone.
*~*The clock tower scene is the first major use of computer animation (the clock's gears) in a feature-length animated film.
*~*Impressed with Alan Young's performance of a near-authentic Scottish accent for the voice of Hiram Flaversham, studio brass cast him as the voice of the Scottish-accented Scrooge McDuck in a series of Disney film and television projects. He became the official voice of the tightwad duck.
*~*During the recording of Vincent Price's lines, animators sketched his exaggerated Shakespearean gestures and worked them into the animated poses for Ratigan.
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on January 10, 2004
How the Great Mouse Detective has not found a wider audience is beyond me. Perhaps it's because adults see the cover of animated mouses and assume it's just for kids, but looks can be decieving. I have screened this movie for several of my adult friends (without kids) with many of them running out and buying a copy for themselves after realizing what a truely enjoyable classic it is.
Although the Little Mermaid has been given the credit for Disney Animation's rise to greatness throughout the 1990's it really began with this teriffic classic. The Great Mouse Detective marks the first effort of Don Musker and Ron Clemants (The directors of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin). Although it has two catchy showtunes it plays more like a detective adventure story than the later musical classics of Disney animation. What sets this film apart is that it is character driven. Each character in the film has quirks and traits that play into the film's plot. The Great Mouse Detective is wildly imaginative and orginal. This film also has perhaps the most thrilling endings in Disney animation too.
So in parting I beg you adults out there without kids to give this little animated tale a chance, I guarentee you will not be disappointed.
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on January 7, 2006
The Great Mouse Detective -- Disney's adaptation of Eve Titus's book Basil of Baker Street -- is by far the best "portrayal" of Sherlock Holmes, both characters and adventures, for kids, teens, or adults...with the possible exception of Without a Clue starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley [PG]. Both movies are true Holmes despite obvious differences, such as being a mouse.

The Great Mouse Detective can be appreciated on many levels. It's great fun for kids, even if they haven't read, or heard, Eve Titus's Basil of Baker Street books. Basil is, of course, THE mouse counterpart to that greatest of detectives Sherlock Holmes. You could say he is Holmes' "under study" for the animal world, living literally "under" Holmes' residence in Baker Street. The Great Mouse Detective is a superb introduction to Sherlock Holmes, but it doesn't take knowledge of Holmes to enjoy it immensely.

For an older audience, there is subtle humor that you miss as a kid, but is hilarious. The movie's a must for those who've enjoyed the great conglomerate, "allusive" humor in Shanghai Knights, such as Jackie Chan balancing and fighting using an umbrella to the title music of "Singing in the Rain." Without seeing The Great Mouse Detective, no viewer can fully appreciate the humor of the "fight in Big Ben" scene in Shanghai Knights and the plunge from the face of the clock to the ground far below.

The fall to their "deaths" of arch villain and hero is a great example of another level at which The Great Mouse Detective can be appreciated. It's is "straight out of Holmes." No one well-read in Doyle's Adventures can fail to recognize the moment where Doyle "kills" Holmes off (or that he brings him back by popular demand). Basil has all Holmes' mannerisms, and the arch villain Ratigan is hyper-Moriarty. All the principle characters are there, and "extras" could be found in any number of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

So why is the movie not more widely known? Perhaps for lack of expert hype and marketing. It's a movie that deserves more, unlike other recent Disney offerings. There seems to be no other reason. Disney, now famed for sequels, could do that too, if they brought back their artists (computers just can't get the same quality). After all, there are other Basil of Baker street stories. To match the humor and marvelous Holmes qualities of The Great Mouse Detective, however, would be a difficult task indeed! Holmes is a genius, and it took genius to make The Great Mouse Detective the great movie it is.
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THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE is one of the Disney animated films that is underrated and not scene or talked about it a lot. The animation and settings are superb. The music is brilliant and the characters very real - for being animated that is.
First off, Mr. Henry Mancini (Pink Panther and the Elephant Walk fame) is the films composer of note. The main theme for Basil (Our Great Mouse Detective) and the subsequent enhancements made by the `dangerous' moments in the play make this score a fantastically orchestrated one.
The story is a little unique in that Basil and his sidekick Dawson (hence Holmes and Watson like) are searching for the abducted father of our little heroin (age 8) Olivia. The plans get complicated as the bad guy; Professor Ratigan tried to take over the mouse world with one evil plan against the mouse queen. Not only is the day saved, but I think the kids will learn a lot about respect, being brave, being honest and what friendship is all about. Nice moral play in this film. You even get inside the famous Big Ben itself.
Now the supreme evil character is voiced by the one and only Vincent Price. Need I say more?
The DVD extras on this one very good as well and surprisingly entertaining. To keep in the clock themes, there are two `time' related shorts that are pretty funny and the behind the scenes documentary are very good as well. There is even a sing-a-long for the kids. This is a delightful edition to the Disney and animated collection of any family. 8-20-02
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on November 14, 2012
The Great Mouse Detective came out in a period when WDAS was struggling to stay relevant. After Walt's death in 1966, the animation division released movies that were not widely embraced as their previous efforts. One year before TGMD came out, The Black Cauldron was a box office bomb and became one of Disney's least successful and most forgotten efforts. TGMD had the task of taking away the bad taste The Black Cauldron left in moviegoers and became the next "Disney Classic". While it didn't accomplish that, nevertheless TGMD is a fun adventure with great action and superb characters. When a toy maker is mysteriously kidnapped, his daughter enlists the help of brilliant detective Basil of Baker Street and his colleague Dr. Dawson. They realized that this crime was perpetrated by no other than Basil's archenemy, Professor Ratigan. Basil and Co. will have to run against time to stop Ratigan and his evil plot of destroying the British Empire.

TGMD offers a kid friendly version of Sherlock Holmes and while its story can be a little forgettable and lacks some of the magic Disney's classics have, it offers good entertainment and has some great character animation! Ratigan is a marvelous creation and one of the best Disney villains ever. TGMD may not be a Disney classic but still has some nice moments and offers good entertainment for the entire family.

Video & Audio
TGMD has a nice looking transfer that remains faithful to the original source but it's not demo quality like other Disney BDs. Some specs appear from time to time but generally the transfer looks clean, detail is strong and colors are well reproduced. It's not a spectacular transfer but still it's quite good.

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA fares a little better than its video counterpart but it's still very front heavy. Still, dialogue is always clean and there are not any hisses or other unwanted noises.

Bonus Material
Sadly, because this is a very obscure title, bonus features are really scarce. Here's what's included:

"The Making of The Great Mouse Detective" is a very short featurette made around the time of the film. Is worth a look because is the most substantial feature in the set.

"So you think you can sleuth?" is a not very amusing game.

"World's Greatest Criminal Mind" sing-along

A DVD copy is also included.

Closing Thoughts

One of Disney's more underrated films receives and adequate but not perfect BD release. Still, fans of the films or Disney lovers will want to add this film to their collections. Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon August 20, 2004
Among the selections of movies in the excellent Sherlock Holmes reference book `Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History' by Alan Barnes is this 1986 Disney concoction that is equal part musical, comedy, thriller, suspense and children's movie. In fact, as Barnes points out, this feature has many more Holmesian elements than many live action movies that happen to have the character Sherlock Holmes among its cast list.

Indeed this clever animated movie owes a great deal to its literary roots and is based on Eve Titus' book `Basil of Baker Street.'

Living underneath the apartment of the famous Sherlock Holmes at 221 Baker Street is a mouse named Basil. Shaped primarily on the Rathbone interpretation of the character, Basil is the most famous detective in all of mousedom and is determined to track down his evil nemesis Prof. Ratigan (wonderfully played with obvious relish by Vincent Price).

Basil's chance comes when he is approached by the daughter of a kidnapped toymaker named Flaversham. Initially uninspired and uninterested in the girls search for her abducted father Basil becomes decidedly more interested when she reveals that one of those responsible is a bat with a peg leg.

The bat is a known as a henchman for Ratigan and soon Basil races off into another adventure to chase down the evil genius.

The animation in the movie is top notch, the songs lively and the humor - well funny, but where this movie falters a little is in pace. I would say it is just a little too long and slower paced than I expected. It's a very satisfying movie certainly, and a `must-own' for Sherlock Holmes fans (Basil Rathbone's voice is even heard in one scene), but there are moments where it seems to drag and other moments where you wish the characters would stop singing and just get on with developing the plot.

Great fun for the kids and people who are still a kid at heart/
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on December 11, 2015
This is a wonderful Disney movie based on one of my of favorite childhood books, Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus. This movie captured the essence of the Basil books, which I highly recommend. The indomitable Vincent Price is the voice of Basil's arch nemesis, Ratigan.
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on July 17, 2002
I got this movie for my 9th birthday in 1991 and I absolutely adored it. I watched this Disney movie so much at one point that I was ACTUALLY able to remember almost every line off this movie. That expresses how much I really loved. Now scroll ahead to now ten years later. At the age of 19 my opinion of this movie has not changed at all. I still absolutely love it to pieces.
This 1986 masterpiece from Disney is a story about a tough mouse detective called Basil who alongside with his sidekick battles the evil rat named Professor Ratigan(Great name too) who sends his henchman bat Fidget who ends up kidnapping Olivias Flamershams father and ultimately Olivia herself and it's up to Basil, his sidekick Dawson and a family pet dog by the name of Toby to rescue her and her father and stop Ratigan and his malevolent crime schemes before he takes over all of Englands mousedon(Mouse equivilent of kingdom).
To me The Great Mouse Detective contains incredible depth and wonderful charachters and it doesn't suffer from excessive cheesiness like some of Disneys more popular films such as Pocahontas.
In fact it's the more obscure movies like this and Robin Hood that I tend to enjoy more than lets say, The Little Mermaid(I like that movie too. Don't get be wrong) or Aladdin( I love that one too as well as it's two sequels). I say get this wonderful Disney video. It's bound to be an entertaining movie for all ages. I will still enjoy this movie if I live to be 120.
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on April 10, 2014
The Great Mouse Detective is one of my favorite Disney films of all time, it's also one of the most under rated in my opinion. I think just because I love the story so much and it always brought up good memories, this was the funniest Disney animated movie I had seen at the time. It's just such a cute film, it has fun animation, catchy songs, and such a touching story that anyone could easily fall in love with. My parents and I watched this movie together all the time when I was a child, still to this day, I don't mind sitting down to watch it, it's just that much fun.

A young little mouse girl and her toy shop father are celebrating her birthday, but her father is quickly taken away by a rotten gang of mice who are led by a giant rat, Ratigan, who is planning to over throw the queen and become leader of the mouse world. Olivia, the daughter, goes to Basil of Baker Street, he's a mad detective who has been chasing Ratigan for a long time. Along with the help of an average mouse, Dr. Dawson, Olivia, and Basil go after Ratigan to make sure that his plan fails.

The Great Mouse Detective is such a cute film. I'm very sure that you'll enjoy it, it's one of my personal favorites, I really do think this is one of the better Disney films and is an under rated treasure. I just loved Basil, his madness was just so funny and enjoyable to watch. I also loved Ratigan's song of why he is so great, not to mention how he thinks he's a mouse is just priceless. This is a fun family film to watch, I highly recommend it.

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on November 13, 2005
Walt Disney's take on the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is firmly based on the stories and borrows plenty of material to amuse Holmes' fans. The movie contains numerous references to some of the best Sherlock Holmes stories, including "A Study In Scarlet," in which the world's greatest fictional detective made his debut. Screen legend Vincent Price voices the villainous Professor Ratigan, the "Napoleon Of Crime," an obvious reference to Holmes' archenemy, the evil and equally cunning Professor Moriarty. Look for a cameo by Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, who played Holmes himself several times on film. A MUST for any parent anxious to introduce their kids to the world's greatest fictional detective. Legendary composer Henry Mancini's ("Breakfast At Tiffany's," "The Pink Panther," "Tom And Jerry: The Movie") score is equally engaging as the movie itself. Rated G.
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